Kestrelart is very concerned about my reading the Mail. (If you don’t follow Kestrelart, he does some gorgeous drawings of birds – I think there’s a clue in the name, somewhere! – such as these.) I did reassure him that I didn’t read the Mail, just provided links to interesting articles there, such as the Not Just A Girl one. I hope he is happy with my reading articles in the Huffington Post. My Twitter account this morning had several gems.
The first one was about art historian Benjamin Binstock’s beautiful and strange new book Vermeer’s Family Secrets.
“Scholars have long found it difficult to come up with a coherent story of Vermeer’s development, or even of the order in which the very small number of extant paintings (some 30 odd) were made. Some of the paintings just don’t fit. They depict the same cast of characters, occupying the same rooms and wearing the same clothes. They’re made out of the same paints, using the same basic materials and techniques. But they look different. They lack the technical facility and compositional understanding of the others, even as they are also, sometimes, free-spirited and vigorous — worth loving! — in a way that is not typical of Vermeer.
“Binstock is not alone in noticing that a good sixth of Vermeer’s pictures don’t seem to fit. He may be alone in advancing an account that explains not only their differences, but also their similarities. He says that, contrary to what has been widely supposed, Vermeer did have an apprentice: his daughter Maria (of pearl earring fame). Binstock also offers plausible explanations of why it has taken until now for us to realize this.
Girl in a Red Hat, one of the ‘suspect’ paintings
“First, in the Delft of Vermeer’s day, there was no requirement that children be registered as apprentices. Second, girls and women were not encouraged and Maria would have been expected, or perhaps required, to give up painting at marriage. Hence there is no sequel to her work in her father’s studio. Finally, Vermeer’s family paid the bills with the money from his paintings. Indeed, they traded paintings for food. Vermeer’s widow may have deliberately passed off Maria’s works as by the master himself in order to pay off debts.”
The second Huffington Post which caught my eye was one about Kyle Bean who sharpens his pencils - and then makes his portraits from the pencil shavings!
The third article was one about photographer and former dancer Ingrid Endel who completely transforms herself in a series of bewitching self-portraits. The photographer juxtaposes the controlled grace of her own body with the wild nature of her surroundings. When her 12-year dance career ended with multiple knee injuries, she decided to pick up a camera and capture the quieter ‘between’ moments in dance.
The final Huffington post I liked was one which used the new Gatsby film as an excuse to have a gallery of photographs of beautiful Art Deco hotels around the world, such as this one of Claridge’s in London.